(Photo Courtesy of Virginia Athletics)
Despite being without Matt Moore and Dox Aitken was limited, the Virginia Cavaliers ran through the Towson Tigers like a buzz saw.
Towson started strong and took an early 4-2 lead, the Cavaliers put the pedal to the metal late in the first and never looked back. A 9-1 run from late in the first through the second quarter put the Cavaliers comfortably in front, 11-5 heading into the half. Payton Cormier tallied five goals in that first half while Connor Shellenberger recorded a first half hat trick and added two assists during the first half of his college debut.
Right out of the gate in the second half the Cavaliers picked up right where they left off: on fire. Petey LaSalla took the opening faceoff down for a score, followed by goals from Shellenberger and Xander Dickson.
While the Tigers were able to get five goals in the second half, including a long pole goal from Koby Smith, the Cavaliers just continued to roll all the way to the final buzzer and took home the 20-11 victory.
Payton Cormier led the Cavaliers with seven points (6G/1A). Connor Shellenberger also had seven points (4G/3A) and Charlie Bertrand tallied six points (4G/2A). Alex Rode made eight saves in 48:20 minutes of action and Petey LaSalla went 19-for-23 (82%) at the dot.
Brody McLean led Towson with five goals (3G/2A) and James Avanzato had a first half hat trick.
Utah 12, Bellarmine
In a contest that featured two teams coming off a win, as well as two future ASUN conference opponents, the Utah Utes were able to get a spark down the stretch and ran away with things in the final 11:37 to beat the Knights, 12-7, and move to 2-0 on the season.
Cole Brams went 15-for-22 at the dot and Tyler Bradbury buried all four of his shots to help lead the Utes to victory.
Bellarmine was led again by a solid defensive effort from Jon Robbins (3GB/3CT) and Eric Rubak (3GB/1CT). Landon Trout netted two goals to lead the Knights’ offense.
The Knights started the scoring with some flair, as Brayden Brown got a behind-the-back shot to go on their first possession. However, Utah scored three straight in just over a minute to get going. Trout put one away late in the first to make it a one-goal, 3-2 game.
Utah got one from Ramsey McCreary and Jordan Hyde in the second and Bellarmine got one from Landon Trout, making it a 5-3 game heading into the half. The third was even slower offensively, as each squad found the back of the net once.
Luke Legnard and James Whiteford scored back to back goals to open the fourth for the Knights and tie it up at 6-6. However, a penalty on Eric Rubak led to a Jordan Hyde goal, which was the spark to the Utes’ 6-1 run to end the game and secure the victory.
Mercer 17, Lenoir-Rhyne (DII) 4
The Mercer Bears moved to 1-1 on the season after rolling through DII Lenoir-Rhyne. After leading just 2-1 at the end of the first, Mercer outscored their opponents 15-3 in the final three quarters to play to take home the blowout victory.
Will McCarthy and Collin Stewart led Mercer with four points (3G/1A) each. Ashton Wood went 17-for-21 (80%) at the faceoff dot.